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Phoenix Area Social Survey

Downtown Phoenix skyline

The Phoenix Area Social Survey (PASS) is an interdisciplinary research collaboration among researchers at Arizona State University. ItĀ is a household survey of residents in selected neighborhoods of the Phoenix metropolitan area, where they are asked for theirĀ opinions about quality of life and the condition of the natural environment in their neighborhoods and in the region.

The Phoenix Area Social Survey (PASS) is an interdisciplinary research collaboration among researchers at Arizona State University. Planning for the survey began in 2000, at the close of a decade of rapid population growth, urban development, and economic change in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The first administration of the survey took place in 2001-02 with project seed money from the university. The second survey administration, funded by the National Science Foundation, took place in 2006 in collaboration with the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project (CAP LTER) and the Decision Center for a Desert City.

PASS is a household survey of residents in selected neighborhoods of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Six neighborhoods in the city of Phoenix were included in the original study and two more were added shortly afterward. In the 2006 survey, 40 neighborhoods were surveyed, including the original 8 and others from several municipalities in the region. Neighborhoods are defined by census block groups that are co-located with CAP LTER Survey 200 ecological monitoring sites.

Sample neighborhoods are stratified by income, ethnicity, distance from central Phoenix, and predominant types of landscaping. Geo-referenced locations of the neighborhoods enable researchers to connect numerous data streams (e.g., remotely sensed data, climate and air quality monitors, bird counts and diversity, proximity of parks and recreation areas, etc.) to the social survey responses.

PASS focuses on residents' opinions about quality of life and the condition of the natural environment in their neighborhoods and in the region. Respondents answered questions about four areas of the environment:

  • Land Use
  • Water Supply
  • Air Quality
  • Climate Change

One unique feature of PASS is that social scientists are working with ecologists and other environmental scientists to understand whether people's perceptions correlate with scientifically measured environmental conditions, such as high temperatures, the existence of long-term drought, and the abundance and variety of trees, plants and wildlife.

The survey will be repeated every 5 years to create a historical record of trends in the attitudes and behavior of area residents. The goals are to answer the following questions:

  • How do communities form and adapt in rapidly urbanizing regions?
  • How do knowledge, perceptions and preferences affect behaviors that change the environment?
  • How do inequalities and cultural differences in neighborhoods affect the environment?
  • How do changes in social and physical environments affect neighborhood quality of life and vulnerability to environmental hazards?

Note: This project may no longer be externally funded, but collaborative research opportunities may still exist.

Publications:
Harlan, S. L., Yabiku, S. T., Larsen, L., & Brazel, A. J. (in press). Household water consumption in an arid city: Affluence, affordance, and attitudes. Society and Natural Resources.

Harlan, S. L., Brazel, A. J., Jenerette, G. D., Jones, N. S., Larsen, Larissan, Prashad, L. & Stefanov, W. L. (2008). In the shade of affluence: The inequitable distribution of the urban heat island. Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, 15, 173-202.

Harlan, S. L., Budruk, M., Gustafson, A., Larson, K., Ruddell, D., Smith, V. K., Yabiku, S. T. & Wutich, A. (2007). Phoenix area social survey 2006 highlights: Community and environment in a desert metropolis. Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project Contribution No. 4, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University.

Harlan, S. L., Brazel, A., Prashad, L., Stefanov, W. L., & Larsen, L. (2006). Neighborhood microclimates and vulnerability to heat stress. Social Science & Medicine, 63, 2847-2863.

Kirby, A., Harlan, S. L., Larsen, L., Hackett, E. J., Bolin, B., Nelson, A., Rex, T. & Wolf, S. (2006). Examining the significance of housing enclaves in the metropolitan United States of America. Housing, Theory and Society, 23(1), 19-33.

Larsen, L. & Harlan, S. L. (2006). Desert dreamscapes: Residential landscape preference and behavior. Landscape and Urban Planning, 78(1-2), 85-100.

Larsen, L., Harlan, S. L., Bolin, B., Hackett, E. J., Hope, D., Kirby, A., Nelson, A., Rex, T. & Wolf, S. (2004). Bonding and bridging: Understanding the relationship between social capital and civic action. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24, 64-77.

Harlan, S. L., et al. (2003). The Phoenix area social survey: Community and environment in a desert metropolis. Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project Contribution No. 2, Arizona State University.

Funding Source:
National Science Foundation (Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research and Decision Center for a Desert City)

Team Members
Sharon Harlan, Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Project Director
2001 Research Team
Bob Bolin, Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Edward Hackett, Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Diane Hope
Andrew Kirby, Arizona State University Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Larissa Larsen
Amy Nelson
David Pijawka, Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Tom Rex, Arizona State University Seidman Research Institute
Shapard Wolf, Arizona State University School of Life Sciences
2006 Research Team
Carol Atkinson-Palumbo (IGERT Fellow)
Megha Budruk, Arizona State University School of Community Resources and Development
Anthony Brazel, Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Bill Edwards, Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability
Corinna Gries
Nancy Grimm, Arizona State University School of Life Sciences
Patricia Gober, Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning/School of Sustainability
Annie Gustafson
Edward Hackett, Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Pamela Hunter, Arizona State University School of Politics and Global Studies, Survey Manager
Larissa Larsen
Kelli Larson, Arizona State University School of Sustainability
Kathleen Lohse
Tom Rex, Arizona State University Seidman Research Institute
Darren Ruddell (Graduate Research Assistant)
V. Kerry Smith, Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business
Jason Walker (IGERT Fellow)
Katrina Walls
Paige Warren
Dave White, Arizona State University School of Community Resources and Development
Amber Wutich, Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Scott Yabiku, Arizona State University School of Social and Family Dynamics